KUALA LUMPUR, 3 Aug 2009: A Sessions Court judge told off lawyer P Uthayakumar’s counsel today when he informed the court that his client was not in court as he was in London seeking treatment for a heart complication.
Judge Sabariah Othman told lawyer N Surendran that the court would not tolerate any more delays.
“It has been more than a year since [Uthayakumar was] charged in this court, and I will not accept any more delays to this trial,” said the judge.
When she wanted to fix the case for next week, Surendran said that his client had an appointment with Spire Bushey Hospital in London on 6 Aug, and that he could not ascertain the date of his return to Malaysia.
“He had a valid reason for not attending the trial today. I can ensure this court that Uthayakumar will return as soon as possible and face the charge against him,” Surendran added.
The sedition trial had been fixed for three days from today.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Noorin Badaruddin objected the postponement and applied for a warrant of arrest to be issued against Uthayakumar.
Noorin informed the court that the prosecution was only informed this morning about Uthayakumar’s absence, and that the request for postponement from the counsel was sent to the DPP office in Kuala Lumpur, although the DPPs handling the case were from the Putrajaya office.
On 11 Dec 2007, Uthayakumar, 48, was charged with publishing a seditious letter on a website, an offence carrying a fine not exceeding RM5,000 or imprisonment up to three years, or both, on conviction.
The letter, dated 15 Nov 2007, was from Hindraf and addressed to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at No 10, Downing Street, London.
Two days later, Uthayakumar was detained under the Internal Security Act following his involvement in a street demonstration here on 25 Nov 2007 and alleged seditious remarks against the government. He was released alongside 12 other detainees on 8 May 2009.
Sabariah fixed three days from 28 Aug to hear the case. — Bernama